virus: Reflections on Susan's Sheddings, and Silences

Reed Konsler (
Mon, 29 Mar 1999 12:20:05 -0500

>Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 14:01:45 +0100
>From: Robin Faichney <>
>Subject: Re: virus: Silence
>In message <v02140b25b32460d85ef0@[]>, Reed Konsler
><> writes
>>The reason that I'm a little ambivalent about Buddhism (and
>>the derived vision in _Island_) is be honest...I don't
>>believe it. I can meditate myself into a state of nothingness
>>but the moment I move <I> move.
>If you move, you're not meditating. But if <you> realise there
>is no you, then you are not moving.

That's what I said, isn't it? I was speaking from <my> internal perspective. You were speaking from <your> observers perspective.

>>There is no Cartesian <I>
>>seperate from my physical existence.
>Well, there's one point on which you are in perfect agreement
>with Buddhism, anyway. And with Susan Blackmore (see below).
>(Or to accurate, we all believe there is an <I>, but no I.)
>>I've spent a lot of time
>>contemplating <stillness> and it isn't so attractive to <me>.
>That's fine, but it is only a means to an end, remember. If
><stillness> doesn't do it for you, maybe something else does?

What I meant was that even the absence of thought, an empty space without signifier can, itself, be a kind of meme. An analogy would be John Cage's music, which takes advantage of silences instead of notes. To a mind attuned to pattern recognition at a high level of sophistication, even silence is significant. This is the consequence of living in a universe of signs.

>>So, which meme should <I> favor, <Me>, <Myself>, and
>><I>...a holy trinity, no? What am I offered as an alternative,
>How about <MeMe>? :-)


>Words are not the lotus, but they can help prepare
>the ground for it. The best words are memetic weed killers.

But what differentiates weeds from the garden? If I want to raise wildflowers, or recreate the steppe, who can argue with my aesthetic on objective grounds?

>>The MEDIUM is the MESSAGE.
>Is that a weed killer or a weed?
>If it were a rose,
>would it smell as sweet? :-)

It smells sweet to <me>. Who else can smell a meme? If I offer you a rose in friendship, will you focus on the scent or the thorns?

>>Using this forum, we each automatically accept the rules
>>of phonetic language and memetic transfer. The inherent
>>message of stillness can't ever be expressed, except as
>>David silence. But, as Emerson tells us,
>>silence is death.
>To face death is to appreciate life.

Facing and accepting aren't the same. Accepting is the more difficult.

>>Which is, of course, why Susan Blackmore wrote a book
>>recommending that we all weed our minds and practice
>>To paraphrase:
>>"Would you all just be quiet! I can't hear myself think!"
>Are you saying Blackmore is guilty of this?

It depends. Intentionally? What intentionality would you ascribe to someone who declares that she doesn't exist? Susan can't be "guilty" of anything becuase, if I take her seriously, there is no <Susan>, only her memes.

But, there is something a little disingenious about writing an entire book about achieving silence. My only conclusions can be either

  1. She is a work in progress, and the book represents a shedding of sorts. If so, it is a pointer but not an end point. In this case, there would still be a <Susan> to speak to, and hold responsible.
  2. Her memes are working on a particularly virulent way of propogating, now that they have dissolved her soul. In this case, she is a be dealt with as all other mechanical things: valued while useful.

>That she propagates the "there is no I" meme because
>she wants "her" memes to succeed? Have you really
>worked through the consequences of saying "there is no I"?

I don't know...have you? More to the point, has Susan?

>That's very nice, Reed. Do you believe that those who
>spread confusion ultimately do as much "good" as those
>who shed light?

It depends. Sometimes shedding light reveals confusion.

>>That is why a flower is such a good's always
>And dying, and being reborn...



  Reed Konsler